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Most proposed edits are pretty good and useful. However, every once in a while, a user makes an edit that generally improves the post, and preserves its intent, but changes things that do not need to be changed.

This isn't the best example, but it's current: https://aviation.stackexchange.com/review/suggested-edits/47186

Changing "speed" to "deceleration" is correct and improves the post.

Removing the flourish the answer's author included, such as "if you didn't suffocate on your way down", or "Really, really avoid water", is harmless, but it doesn't improve the post.

It certainly doesn't change the post's intent, but it just isn't needed. In a community wiki, such an edit would be appropriate, but in a non-wiki post, it needlessly removes the original author's equally harmless stylistic choices.

I can of course choose "reject and edit", and only incorporate the useful change (which has to be done either way). But that gives no feedback to the editor.

On a forum or in Wikipedia, I'd PM the user, but we don't have such a mechanic here, mods excepted. (Of course, on Wikipedia, such edits would be most appropriate, but I feel that SE is a different format.) Communicating by commenting on the editor's unrelated answers so they get a notification is unintended use of the system.

So, to what extent do we want to preserve the author's stylistic (rather than just functional) intent when editing?

What's the best thing to do to ask a user to edit a bit more gently, if the above is indeed overediting?

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I fully agree with you and I rejected the suggested edit for exactly that reason. I choose the following reason for the reject:

This edit does not make the post even a little bit easier to read, easier to find, more accurate or more accessible. Changes are either completely superfluous or actively harm readability.

I don't think this text fully explains why I rejected, but it was the closest option. I think the edit modified the author's style without any real need for that. Of course, one could say the post is more formal and easier to read now, but this somewhat subjective.

Since two other reviewers approved the suggested edit, I don't think the author of the edit is even informed about my reject decision. And since we don't have a PM functionality on SE, the only way to discuss it would either be a comment below that post (where IMHO such a discussion does not belong), or the chat. I think the best way to deal with this is to reject more consequently, which would bring it to the editor's attention1.

On the other hand, such edits are not really that much of a problem, since they don't actively harm readability. If the author of the original post thinks their style was better, they can always roll back.


1 The author of the edit you linked currently has 1,999 reputation, so he will be able to edit without review soon anyway.

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